Atlanta, GA

Are you registered to vote in GA?

Voter registration deadline is Monday 2/8/16. GA is already reporting record early registration ahead of it’s March 1 Presidential Primary. Please make sure you are registered to vote if you are a GA resident. Your vote does matter and when we are fighting for our vaping rights and emailing reps they do check to see if you are a registered voter.

Don’t wait. It’s easy. Below is the link for online registration.

https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do

 

HB-907 – Pending GA Legislation that will damage our industry.

There is a new house bill that has come up in GA. Text of the bill can be found here…….
GS House Bill – HB907

This regulation is under the guise of safety and public health but it is far from it. The following is from our GSFA President, Bill Funderburk.

FIRST THOUGHTS ON HB 907

On its face, the alleged purpose behind the new proposed Georgia Vaping Regulation law sounds reasonable to the average person–ensure quality and cleanliness of vapor products. That is how the legislators were recruited. Unfortunately it is a horribly drafted piece of legislation. It was drafted by a group out of Indiana whose sole goal is to get a monopoly on the eliquid market. The group is also tied to the casino industry and involves some deep pocket supporters. Because it was drafted by Casino lobbyists, the security measures reflect those in place for Casino operators.

The real victims will be the millions of Georgia smokers and vapers. The net effect would be to drive out smaller companies, drive up retail prices, and shrink the options available. Why would we want to do that to a product that gives smokers a chance at a better life? Why would we want to compromise on tobacco harm reduction.

As the only trade association representing the Georgia vaping industry, we have to fight this. Our member shops and the vapor industry here employ thousands of Georgians and brings in millions of dollars. Our products have changed lives for the better. That piece of legislation would be very costly to and/or put many small companies out of business. We don’t want to amend it we want it scrapped. If the legislators believe changes are necessary, WE as the native Georgia Vapor Industry should have been involved.

Again the flawed premise behind this legislation sounds good–it is like the old “we’re protecting the children” arguments that always peddled by politicians.

Here are a few notes I quickly jotted down about the pending legislation:

1. The law is biased toward other versions of the same product: sealed ciga-like electronic cigarettes are exempted. The liquids used in them are basically the same as the version regulated. Do users of them not deserve the same security, safety and cleanliness? They were exempted so as not to rile big tobacco and keep them either out of this fight or in collusion. They probably did not want to poke the sleeping bear.

2. The hidden cost of “random” testing could put a small company under. How many “random” tests? What are they testing for? What science are they using? Who decides and based on what regarding the ingredients in an eliquid.

3. Why is there more legislation regarding the “security” of a manufacturing lab than the cleanliness of the facility–“casino level security”? Standards not required of other industries who sell known health damaging products? These security measures aren’t applied to compounding pharmacies, tobacco companies, nor chemical companies, yet somehow they should be applied to E-liquids? A product that has been shown to be at least 95% safer than smoking?

4. The storage of 30 ml samples of every batch of eliquid manufactured would cripple a smaller company. Most Georgia E-liquid manufacturers make very small batches. A requirement to store 30 ml out of every 300 ml batch would drive up costs exorbitantly. Who loses? The smoker who contemplates using vapor as an alternative.

5. Where is the need for the legislation? The requirement for child resistant packaging is already national law. Have there been any people sickened by poor quality E-liquids in Georgia? NO. Has there been new research exposing risks from poorly mixed E-liquids? NO. Who benefits from the legislation? Not Georgia vapers and smokers, and definitely not the Georgia vapor industry.

More importantly any regulations should be national in scope. Which will soon happen. The FDA is very near issuing regulations for vapor products. The proposed Georgia legislation will adversely affect interstate commerce. Another can of worms we shouldn’t get in to.

6. Legal costs to the State: the implementation of this law will most assuredly result in costly and lengthy litigation. On its face several sections are unconstitutional. It happened in Indiana, it will happen here. Legal costs that should not be born by our Georgia citizens.

As you see, those are identifiable issues based on a very quick reading. In the coming days, our members and supporters will further analyze this legislation.

I have attached a couple of articles that will help you guys realize what we are up against. We need you on our side.

Thank you for your attention and assistance. We must act on behalf of a great industry and all of our Georgia smokers and vapers.

Bill

 

Join the discussion and get involved. See our public Face Book group for more details.

GA Smoke Free Association – Public Group